Pryors from Gwennap

It’s time for one of Shelley’s mysteries, and by discussing it here I hope that I can produce an interesting read and possibly make contact with living descendants of those mentioned in this post.

Did William Pryor and Mary Hosking have more children than Joseph and John that most researchers of this family acknowledge?

Joseph Pryor and his wife Ann Hosking were my g g g grandparents (3x great). Their daughter married a son of Richard Grenfell and his wife Ann from Creek Street, Burra, whom I wrote about previously. The Pryor’s also came from Cornwall to Burra, South Australia. They had 12 children, so there are many Pryor descendants in Australia.

All Pryor researchers (that I can find) agree that Joseph’s parents were William Pryor, a blacksmith, and Mary Hosking, who were married in Redruth in 1804. They also had another son, John, baptised in 1805. Joseph was baptised in 1810. A search for information on John yields nothing.

BlacksmithThis work has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights.  Blacksmith

So did William and Mary have any more children? I think so, but I am not aware of any other researchers having more than Joseph and John documented. I love researching the siblings of my direct ancestors. It helps to fill in gaps about the ancestor’s life that couldn’t be gathered by investigating them alone.

The 1841 census reveals that William, a blacksmith, and Mary were living in Tresavean in the Gwennap parish. This, like many other regions of Cornwall, was a mining area. Blacksmith’s were needed at the mines to resharpen and temper the steel rods that were used as drills when hammered into the rock to form the blasting holes. By the end of the shift, the drills would have to be taken back to the smithies for the same again. There was always a blacksmith’s workshop at each mine.

Bell and Lanner Mines CornwallLocation of Bell and Lanner Mines in Cornwall
– both places where William Pryor worked [1]

In 1851 I found a William Pryor (listed as a retired blacksmith) of suitable age living with John (a carpenter) and Louisa Curtis in Gwennap. Could they be relatives?

Cornwall OPC Website
A search of the Cornwall OPC site (click on the image above to go to their website) – a great resource for those researching ancestors in Cornwall – revealed a marriage of a Louisa Pryor to John Curtis in 1839. Not only that, but on the same day there is a marriage for Mary Ann Pryor to William Rowe. Both brides list their residence as Lanner (Tresavean area) and their father is William Pryor, a blacksmith. The marriages are witnessed by William Pryor and James Curtis (a relative of John’s?).

There is a burial for a William Pryor in 1860, age 79, residence listed as Lanner Moor. And a matching William Pryor is absent from the 1861 census, so I believe this burial is for ‘my’ William. On Ancestry I found probate for this William Pryor – the executor is John Curtis, carpenter. That definitely sealed it for me.

Back to the Cornwall OPC database and I find the baptisms of Mary Ann (1814) and Louisa (1820), daughters of William (blacksmith) and Mary Pryor of Tresavean and Bell respectively. These were mines in the Gwennap area. I found not only the baptisms for Mary Ann and Louisa but, when I looked under Prior (note the different spelling), a William (1808), Daniel (1817) and Elizabeth (1823) were discovered with the same parents.  The occupation of the father William is listed as blacksmith for Daniel and smith for Elizabeth (the occupation is blank on the record of William in 1808).

I haven’t followed William and Elizabeth up yet, but I found that a Daniel Pryor from Gwennap Moor married Elizabeth Nicholls in 1837; his father is listed as William Pryor, blacksmith. Daniel then disappears, but I have found the widowed Elizabeth in 1841 with a son, William. In 1851 Elizabeth is with her 13 year old son, William Pryor, a carpenter. They were living next door to the carpenter John Curtis and wife Louisa and lodger William Pryor (deduced by me to be Louisa’s father). There is a record of birth for William Nicholls Pryor in 1837 in the Redruth registration district of Cornwall. It was all starting to fit together. William Nicholls Pryor was the son of Daniel Pryor and seems to have taken on the trade of his uncle John Curtis (perhaps as an apprentice).

William Nicholls Pryor pops up, would you believe, in Burra, South Australia in 1859 when he marries Lydia Harrison – William N’s father is stated as Daniel Pryor on the marriage record. So far, I have found 12 children to this couple, so this increases the number of descendants of William and Mary in Australia. Burra is where William N’s uncle Joseph Pryor first went to as a mine blacksmith in 1849. I haven’t found when William Nicholls Pryor came to Australia so am unsure whether he was at Burra at the same time as his uncle, but later he was in the Clare district where Jospeh lived as well.

Back to the double wedding in Cornwall. John Curtis and Louisa Pryor didn’t have any children that I can find, but William Rowe and Mary Ann Pryor in Cornwall had at least five. So now I can say that, not only are there a lot of descendants of Wiliam Pryor and Mary Hosking in Australia, but plenty in Cornwall as well.

Are you one of William Pryor and Mary Hosking’s descendants? I’d be pleased if you contacted me.  I’m sure we can collaborate together to find more about our ancestor’s lives.

Here is a descendant chart representing my current research.

Descendants of William Pryor and Mary Hosking

You can also find me on Ancestry (look for my first and surname – all one word), where there is a public tree on the Pryors available. Don’t forget to leave me a message that you have dropped by. 🙂


1. Map from using Google Maps [back]


Cornwall OPC website (

Genealogy Snapshot

Name: William Pryor (abt 1782-1860)
Parents: ?
Spouse: Mary Hosking (abt 1783-1845?)
Spouse’s Parents: ?
Surnames: Pryor, Hosking, Grenfell, Willis
Relationship to Shelley: great, great, great, great grandfather (4x great grandfather) William is Shelley’s 4x great grandfather

  1. William Pryor (1782-1860) 4x great grandfather
  2. Joseph Pryor (1810-1883) 3x great grandfather
  3. Sarah Eleanor (“Ellen”) Pryor (1849-1916) great, great, grandmother (2x great grandmother)
  4. Emmeline Dulcinea Ann Grenfell (1874-1956) (great grandmother)
  5. Olive Ann Willis (1896-1970) (grandmother)
  6. Father
  7. Shelley
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11 Responses to Pryors from Gwennap

  1. Deirdre Lane says:

    Hi Shelley, I’m confused… the above genealogy snapshot, don’t Ann and John Willis come between Emmeline and Olive? Dee 😯


    • Shelley says:

      Hi Dee. The snapshot follows my grandmother’s maternal line. John Willis was married to Emmeline Dulcinea Ann Grenfell (referred to in our family as ‘little Mumma’), so Ann Willis would be on the paternal line. I still haven’t worked out how you and I are connected! 🙂


      • Shelley says:

        I did it, Dee. We are half-2nd cousins, once removed! And I just worked out how I am related to your husband via the Caporns – he and I are 3rd cousins, onced removed.


  2. TCasteel says:

    I heard Ancestry is aggressively getting more access to previously undocumented parish records. Good luck in your search. Welcome to the Geneabloggers Family.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shelley says:

      Thanks for the welcome, Theresa. Yes, hopefully as more records become available it will become easier. Wouldn’t want it to be too easy, though. Nothing better than a good mystery. 🙂


  3. Richard William Muncey says:

    Hi Shelley. Love the blog. I am a relative new-comer to this so I am still in ‘catch-up’ mode and have only just discovered your blog. My wife Lyn, like you, has William & Mary Pryor as 4th great grandparents through Joseph and Ann Pryor. Lyn’s line is then through their daughter Emma Jane Pryor 1839-1906, who came to South Australia with them in 1849. She married a Louis Bandt, a miller in Clare SA in 1858 then later moved to Quorn,where she and Louis are buried. Happy to collaborate, in particular as I intend to visit Bandt & Pryor family locations in country SA in the near future. We have already been to Corwall and visited Gwennap. I agree it is very important to research siblings as I have found many new leads this way. BTW have you done your DNA as it doesn’t show on Ancestry? Regards Richard & Lyn Muncey Adelaide, South Australia


    • Shelley says:

      Hi Richard and Lyn
      So glad you happened by my blog, and thanks for leaving a comment. It’s nice to hear about our connection.
      I hope you are going to visit Burra in your travels, as that is where the Pryors went first when they arrived from Cornwall. Spring Farm cemetery can be difficult to find, but is worth the effort to see Joseph and Ann’s headstone.
      No, I haven’t gone down the DNA road yet, but will in time I imagine.


  4. Jenny says:

    Hi Shelley
    Do you have any info on the parents of Ann Hosking who married Joseph Pryor?


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